A variety of interesting information arrives in my inbox everyday. For example, this email popped up today:
Hi William —
Right away I have a problem. “William?” Hmmm. Only my mother calls me that and only when she is mad. Not a good start.
Monitor Group and several partners are undertaking a survey to better understand what helps and hinders the activities of “social entrepreneurs”.
What is the Monitor group? Who are these unnamed partners? The wiki tells me that:
Monitor Group is a global management consulting firm. They provide strategic consultation services to senior management of corporations, governments, and social-sector organizations. Monitor has been ranked among the most prestigious consulting firms and recruits top graduate (MBA or otherwise) and undergraduate candidates from Ivy League schools and their international equivalents.
Of course there is more:
Monitor was first hired by the Muammar Gaddafi-led Libyan government in 2005 to assess the state of Libya’s economy, develop plans for economic modernization and reform of the banking system, and train leaders from different sectors of society.
Monitor’s work for the Libyan government, and its hiring of academics in connection with it, became the subject of increasing scrutiny and controversy after Gaddafi’s forces attacked anti-government protesters in February 2011. Questions arose about whether Monitor should have registered as a foreign lobbyist under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) in connection with its work in Libya. During this time details also came to public notice of the role which Monitor had played in the writing of Saif Gaddafi’s thesis submitted to the LSE. This, combined with public exposure of wider connections between the LSE and Libya, resulted in the resignation of its director, Howard Davies. In March 2011, Monitor announced that it had launched an internal investigation into its work for the Libyan government.
The fun folks at Monitor then tell me that…
We had originally done a survey of entrepreneurs in the commercial sector, which led to this project. Our assumption is that the commercial, social and political sectors working together is what makes change happen, but that the landscape is different in each sector, and what helps and hinders differs as well. The survey is global in nature, so the results will also show those regional differences as well.
I know these guys are all Ivy League and everything but this writing is terrible. If I was grading it– I might give it a “C.” Even worse, given their track record I have a have to assume that their interest in “social entrepreneurship” is entirely mercenary.
Each respondent will of course, receive a copy of the survey, and all information is used only in aggregate, unless we arrange otherwise with you. I’m including a link to the commercial report, Paths to Prosperity, which may give you a better idea of what we are planning.
I am supposed to fill out some survey, the results of which they will sell to their unnamed clients and in return for providing them with time, information and insight I will receive…. Drum roll please! “…a copy of the survey”
The internet has a technical term for this kind of request. It is “FAIL.”
We hope you will choose to participate.
Hah. You have to be kidding me. Adding to the hilarity of this fail, the text I used for this post is from the second e-mail they sent me. After I wrote to them asking for clarification. Their first e-mail was even more bizarre, vague and cryptic.
If anybody knows more about these “Monitor” characters and what they are up to, send me a note.
Just don’t call me “William.”